With seating expected to be in high demand for men’s basketball this season, Yale has implemented a new ticket policy.
During the men’s basketball team’s road to a share of last year’s Ivy League championship, attendance grew at home games at the John J. Lee Amphitheater, athletics department personnel said. In the past, Yale had placed the student section on the south, or Tower Parkway, side of the arena, and students could enter the arena by flashing their identification cards at the door.
This winter, students must pick up tickets before games at the Yale Bookstore by showing student identification. Yale uses a similar system to distribute tickets for men’s ice hockey games at Ingalls Rink.
The athletics department also made several changes to the arena itself but did not increase capacity. Yale moved press seating to the first two rows behind the scorer’s table and added four skyboxes for corporate sponsors and other partners of the athletics department. Yale also installed new scoreboards, new speakers and new shot clocks above the backboards. The old shot clocks were placed on the arena’s walls behind the baskets.
Even with the arena’s capacity set at 2,552, athletic director Thomas Beckett said he is committed to accommodating all students who wish to attend games, even at the expense of revenue from outside ticket sales.
“We want to make sure that the students are aware that the tickets are available,” Beckett said.
Beckett said approximately 400 seats along the south bank of the amphitheater are given to the Yale Bookstore for students to pick up by showing student identification. The athletics department checks daily with the bookstore to ensure enough tickets are available. If there is a high demand, more tickets can be allocated. Beckett said approximately 700 additional seats on the south side of the arena could be used for students.
Men’s basketball head coach James Jones said attendance at non-conference games was higher this year than it was last year. Yale begins the Ivy League portion of its schedule Friday against Brown.
An employee at the Yale Bookstore said there are still “a moderate amount” of seats available for the team’s game against Brown on Friday.
“If we have a situation with a ticket crunch, I think it would be great for this program,” Jones said.
Jones said he would like to see the amphitheater become as popular a venue as Duke University’s Cameron Indoor Stadium.
“We’re trying to create that collegiate atmosphere with the students on the floor,” said Kenneth Place, senior assistant director of facilities and operations management.